The Future of Advertising and digital consumption
Advertising is here to stay. As long as there is commerce, there will continue to be advertising. There’s just no other effective way to make products and services known to consumers. And if they don’t know your product exists and what it does, they will not buy. Since the inception of mass media, advertising has continued to evolve tremendously especially in the digital ecosystems. When television took the world by storm, we didn’t see anything else coming until the Internet empowered us in ways we never thought possible. We can currently use Google Adwords, Social Media Marketing and other digital marketing platforms to reach our target audiences.
While we still continue to enjoy the freedom and benefits of online advertising, there is a growing expectation that the future of advertising is far beyond anything we’re seeing or doing today. If you were thinking about holograms or some form of space advertising because of something you saw in a SciFi movie, well, maybe you’ve drifted a little too far. We’re yet to adequately take advantage of what the Internet can do in the world of advertising, and I expect that to be done in the nearest future.
Television has clearly taken the lead for over a century, especially as it concerns reaching targets simultaneously. But a recent report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau has shown that digital advertising revenue has surpassed that of television, with US $72.5 billion spent in 2016. Even with this growth, we expect unprecedented transformations within the digital ad industry in the coming years. But within this budding ad industry, what will internet marketers focus on to push their products in the future?
What will drive Advertising in the Future?
The future of advertising is probably already with us. There is a noticeable paradigm shift in the way smart marketers want to connect with internet users. The truth is that the present interruptive and forceful ads that flood the Internet do not exactly enhance the browsing experience of users. There are more pissed users than satisfied ones, and more people are beginning to shut down popups even before they fully appear. To move forward, ads should connect and not just try to inform or persuade.
So what will marketers focus on in the future when they plan their campaigns?
- Content Marketing
In the years to come, the importance of content will be emphasized more than ever before. Consumers are increasingly seeking for brands they can feel, and not just brands they can see. They are increasingly seeking for the How and Why and not just the What. Pop-Ups and Interruptive advertising are unable to provide better information about a product. Plus, Internet searchers do not want to be distracted from a page they’ve spent the last hour searching for.
So what is Content Marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, it is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”. I have decided to adopt this definition by CMI because no other definition can clearly encapsulate the true components of content marketing.
This goes beyond pitching your product or forcing it on people. With content marketing, you’re providing useful and relevant information that can help them solve their problems. If consumers find your content useful enough and can rely on the information you have provided therein, they’ll more readily trust your product too. The world has moved away from the time when advertisers treated consumers as robots and people who couldn’t think for themselves. Then, the hypodermic needle theory was in full practice.
Things have changed today. The future of advertising will depend on marketing campaigns that truly respect the consumers and answer their questions. As consumers become more aware, it is expected that content marketing will lead the train in the future. But it didn’t just start today. Content marketing has to be embedded in everything you’re already used to; from SEO, social media, PPC, and content strategy to your public relations practices. The key is for the receiver to get value from it.
The image below illustrates how content marketing needs to work.
To better understand why content marketing will play a better role in the future, consider the statistics.
Forms of Content Marketing
- Web pages: If you desire to place marketing contents on a webpage, you must realise that it is different from just any kind of content. Your marketing content has to be fascinating, valuable and relevant. It must capture the attention of the audience and provide “useful”, “valuable”, and “relevant” information.
- Videos: I know YouTube comes to mind here for their vast experience and reach. Regardless of how much content marketing videos you think you’ve seen, this form is still largely untapped. People are still intrigued by what they can hear and see. This will go on for many years to come. If you can pass your information using a quality video, you can’t imagine how much it can do for your business.
- Books: eBooks have suddenly become a big deal in the content marketing world. Apart from teaching people a thing or two, smart publishers now use this effective medium as a way to sell their products and services too. Besides, it’s a status conferral symbol to be called an author. It makes you feel important and also like an authority in the subject you’ve written about.
- Influencer Marketing
Just as it has been for the last 100 years, influencer marketing will continue to be a large part of advertising in the future. The celebrity culture doesn’t seem like it will ever fade away, and as long as people have their idols, they can be easily influenced. People Magazine attracts 4.6 million readers every week and it is the most read American Magazine. The simple reason is that people are obsessed with their celebrities. They want to see what’s happening in their lives, and yes, what they’re wearing too.
This is why celebs get a lot of endorsement deals, especially from fashion companies, automobiles, wristwatches, and so on. The simple explanation is that I want to wear a Rolex because I have seen Dicaprio wear one, and I believe it will make me feel like I belong to a certain class. The best brands who take advantage of influencer marketing actually look out for stars who already use their products and advertise with them. I have mentioned Rolex before because it is a very good example.
In the last 5 years, attention to influencer advertising has grown dramatically. It truly can make sales rise through the roof and it is very cost effective. There are three (3) key factors that smart marketers should pay attention to in the future.
- Use Influencers who are interested in your Products: It is not worth your money and time to use just any celebrity because they have a huge social media following, if they don’t use your product or service. Apart from it being a little deceptive, you will get the best results when people actually see your favorite celeb rocking your brand in public or even in their homes.
- Be sure the Celeb has the Attention of your Target: Just because your proposed influencer has 10 million followers on Instagram doesn’t mean they can successfully reach out to your targets. Understand that there’s a difference between “reach” and “reaching out to”. While the former is a factor of numbers, the latter has to do with influence. However, will using a particular celebrity translate to buying decisions by his followers? That is the question to ask.
- Hold Celebs Accountable: For some reasons I may never understand, some companies are satisfied with just paying an influencer and producing a campaign without any attention to success. I often advise business owners to clearly spell out their goals from the very beginning. Let them know what your short and long-term goals are and what you’d like that specific campaign to achieve.
A successful influencer marketing campaign must put the following into consideration;
- Ensure the influencer is the right person (character) for the job.
- Give your influencer some creative freedom to express herself.
- Identify small-circles influencers too.
- Be sure to clearly negotiate the price.
- Don’t be carried away by the Influencer’s follower count.
- Don’t be too promotional with the campaign. Be more organic than sales.
- Carry out campaign analysis to check the progress.
- Don’t be afraid to state your objectives and demand value for your money.
But it’s not just “celebrities” that can influence people to buy your products. There is a growing market that we need to pay attention to. People trust their friends to recommend products they have used. This is a kind of mouth-to-mouth influencer marketing. The image below explains the power of this form.
- Social Commerce
This is a very new digital form of advertising and has grown noticeably in recent years. Social commerce enables you to buy a product from a third-party site while you engage normally in the social media experience. Here, you don’t even need to leave the social media site to buy a product. You can browse, compare and buy the product on the same platform, Facebook, Twitter or any other platform. You don’t even need to go to the actual seller’s site to do that.
Presently, only Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest lead this social commerce trend, but I expect more platforms to join in the coming years. Did you even know you can now sell and buy on the Facebook Store? You can talk to potential buyers, upload pictures of your products and sell directly on Facebook. Just be sure to post the right products on your shop page and pay close attention to your top sellers. This is how social media is establishing itself in commerce, not just through backlinks, but as a major tool for social commerce.
Twitter has also partnered with several e-commerce platforms to make shopping on Twitter quite seamless. If you already have a vast following, this is one avenue you must take advantage of. Then, there’s Pinterest. Since its buyable pins introduction in 2015, the company has recorded more than 100 million users already. It is also the leading site in terms of average value of sales made, currently at $50. Social commerce is making e-commerce so much fun.
You’re interacting with your friends and loved ones, and the next moment you’re selling a few items. This is what the future holds and it’s amazing. By 2018 and the years that follow, I expect more social media platforms to follow suit and more companies to take advantage of this form that may well become the future of advertising. So while you contemplate on the next steps for your company, you should put this into serious consideration and set aside a reasonable budget to push this through.
- Mobile Advertising
When Mary Meeker predicted in 2008 that mobile will overtake fixed internet access by 2014, I’m not sure a lot of people doubted it. Even at that time, the signs were clear for everyone to see. It was clearly proliferating the world in ways we couldn’t even imagine. Today, it amounts to more than 60% of internet searches. In 2020, 80% of internet users will be doing so with their mobile devices. I think you should write that down.
A recent report by smartinsights.com, and compiled by ComScore, on mobile usage across the World showed that mobile devices dominated total minutes spent online, with 71% in the United States and as high as 91% in Indonesia. With this huge potential, knowing that the world is going mobile, it will be disastrous to have a site that is not mobile-friendly. It will even be unwise not to adopt a mobile-first index when planning your ads. From inception, we know that mobile usage has continued to rise globally.
Now that we know, it’s no longer a question of whether mobile marketing is important or not, because we know it is, you should be planning how you can take advantage and build your campaigns to be mobile compliant. That is the way. If anything, the mobile revolution will drive the future of advertising, making it easier, faster and more convenient for people to see your ads and make buying decisions on the move.
When I say the future, it is here already. The revolution has started and just like the age that we’re in, people are moving really fast. The future of advertising will depend on so many factors, but those who will lead that future and dominate in business are those who will pay attention to the signs and adopt these practices.
How to carry out social media competitor analysis for your business
Social media competitor analysis is a task all online businesses should consider. Social media has fast taken over, and it’s difficult to get an edge over your competitors especially if you’re just starting out. As a newbie, you have to struggle to get followers, create content and establish a connection with your audience.
However, the good news is that you can still get ahead of your business rivals thanks to competitor analysis.
What is Competitor Analysis?
Competitor analysis refers to the process of identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strong and weak points as compared to your own product or service. When carrying out competitor analysis for social media, you’re looking at your competitor’s social activity and accounts.
How Do You Perform a Social Media Competitive Analysis?
Here are a few steps on how to conduct a social media competitive analysis.
Know Who Your Competitors are. Here, we are talking about demographics and mapping out the real target audiences.
While some companies have no problem identifying who their competition is, some do require work , specially for international businesses. You can identify who your competitors are by using the Google search.
Know Their Brand Voice
Do your competitors post as a person within the brand or as the voice of the brand? Although most big brands post as the brand, posting as a person within the brand can add a personal approach.
Identify What Their Fan to Follower Ratio is
Once you’ve known who your competitors are, it’s time to take note of their fan to follower ratio. You’ll notice that some brands only follow a handful of people while others follow everyone that follows them, especially on Twitter.
Establish How Active they are on Social Media
This will require some manual work. Take note of how many times they’ve posted unique content and the duration.
Measure Their Engagement Rate with Fans
When analyzing their engagement data, take a couple of posts and note how many comments they get, retweets, likes, or repins. You need to take the average engagement per post and decide this by the number of fans they have.
Determine The Type of Content Being posted
Are they posting polls, videos, photos, trivia or contests as part of their content? Having this information will help you in regards to engagement and fan involvements. Check to see if they use hashtags frequently, if they repost content from other brands, or if they are using a link shortener service.
Are They Using Paid Media?
While it’s hard to know the exact amount of money your competitors are spending on social media, you can find out if they do spend money by looking for sponsored ads on both Facebook and Twitter. Hosting a lot of giveaways could also be an indication that they are spending a huge amount of money to increase their following.
Tools You Can Use For Competitor Analysis
You can now find a variety of tools that can offer insights over a range of areas.
Here are some tools you need to consider.
With tools from SEMrush, you can view your competitor’s keywords, rankings, and even paid search. You can opt for the free version that gives you limited results of up to 10 URLs. Alternatively, you can go for the premium version to see all the data at only $70 a month.
This tool shows you when the competition is carrying out A/B tests, taking screenshots that are displayed in a dashboard, or visiting pages from different IP addresses. You can use the free version or upgrade to view different watch lists.
Being one of the most popular tools, Alexa mainly ranks websites based on their traffic volume. With Alexa, you can know the time spent on the site, demographics, bounce rate, and daily page views per visitor.
Buzzsumo allows you to search for content by entering your competitor’s URL or by typing in a keyword. You can then narrow down the results by shares across social sites, content type, and publish date. With the paid account, you have access to more tools and data.
Competitor analysis for social media allows you to look at how your target audience engages with your competitors. This gives you an insight on how to interact and engage with them on social media. Moreover, you can identify their weaknesses and use this as an opportunity to increase your brand’s exposure.
Creating a digital marketing strategy that delivers results in 2017
What is a digital marketing strategy? Have you got a digital marketing strategy in place? Over the years, through research conducted by Gartner and E-consultancy, many brands do not understand the right methodology or approach to creating a perfect digital marketing strategy. Some have struggle to sketch one but are meet with bottlenecks and are unable to deploy it into their marketing mix. It is really hard to believe that many some companies don’t even have in place business plan not to talk of digital marketing strategy in 2017.
Without a marketing strategy and a business plan, how does a business expect to grow in a era where consumer behaviour is significantly drifting, social media media eating into the hearts of everyone and innovation and creativity being at the core business growth? When a C-suite hears the words data and insight, they frightened to near death because they have no got a clue what ask these means but yet they expect to grow and make profits.
Yet, when they are told to map out their target audiences before launching a product or services, it appears to them like some of rocket science from a alien world. This experience is wildly common. I quite remember one of my CEO asking me if we could create a digital marketing strategy that will last for the next coming five years.
Digital marketing strategy is not a strategy that works for all types of businesses. A good digital evangelist is always happy to make measurable mistakes and eventually to learn from them while relentlessly measuring and analysing both out comes. “A quitter never wins and a winner quits”.
Let’s get down to business. If you own a business without a marketing strategy, do not panic about failure and start creating a marketing strategy that will create a significant impact and I will going to show you the ins and outs as we dive deeply into best practices, industry benchmarks and plans that can pack a powerful punch and send your competitors crashing. So, start thinking about how you’d like to grow your online business and how to stay ahead of the competition because the competition is very fierce and not for fainted hearts.
The guidelines I am providing to you right now is the equivalent of the “mother of all bombs” and it should act as a blueprint for your digital marketing mix in 2017 and beyond.
Digital marketing strategy considerations
The first thing you need to consider is your target audiences. Who are they and where are they based. Whether you are starting a new business, carrying out performance review, knowing who influences your business growth and who you are out to target helps you understand the real impact of your strategy before it is implemented. A strategic approach to understanding your target personae is to consider them as part of your holistic digital strategy and or the wider ecosystem. As soon as you have in place identifiers of your target personae, you can proceed to identify, interests, demographics, goals, challenges, background and how you can help. A strategy is usually about solving an identified problem or covering gaps.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Spying on your primary and secondary competitors is a powerful arsenal to every marketer. It is vital to identify their weaknesses and strengths (SWOT). This should help in identifying threats and opportunities. It is unfortunate that many businesses do not implement this type of analysis and simply rely on intuition without any facts. A competitor analysis is a critical part of any marketing strategy and should be considered very carefully. A good competitor analysis will take into consideration everything a prospective competitor is doing and this include spying to find out how they use social, how often they share content on social, what they share, the level of engagement, tonality, content formatting and much more. Your analysis should include all the channels and platforms where your competitors are active including their websites.
Your goals and objectives
Your business plan will need to feed your digital marketing strategy. Your business objectives and goals must fit into the bigger picture which is your overall business plan. Ask yourself, what is it that you want to achieve? Are you interested in creating brand equity and or a go-to online business? Is this your goal? Right! What makes you different from your competitors?
Your technology and human resources
Having a digital marketing in place means you’d taken into account available resources to create the success your business needs. You would also have identified the right channels where your audiences are active. Below are three resources you’ll me measure and analyse;
- Have you got the right team in places?
- Have you got the right budget?
- Have you got the right technological tools?
Once you have taken stock of what is available, it becomes easy to map-out the way forward. For example, you may decide to outsource some sections of your digital marketing activities or decide to recruit some permanent staff or freelancers to cover missing gaps. Let’s say, during your audit, it appears that, there is no member of staff with the right SEO expertise or PPC knowledge, you may want to get to hire a freelancer or part-time based on the budget in place.
Brand message and communication
Since you already have target personae in place, it is important to speak their language and to make sure the brand message is consistent across all active channels and platforms. You’d need to relate emotionally and give them what they want. It is there paramount that your audiences are at the center of your digital marketing strategy.
Implementing or deploying your digital marketing should be about testing to identify what works. You are never expected to stick to your plan or strategy. No digital marketing specialist has ever created a succinct and perfect strategy that leverages success from the outset. Not every section of your digital marketing strategy is going to right irrespective of what type of insights, data and analysis you have recruited. Consumer behavior prostitutes which call for continues analysis, measurement and monitoring of your plan, successes and failures. As soon as you have identified what has worked or failed, then you would change those elements resulting in waste where needed. Digital is about continuous testing and testing without an end.